Oh, Colorado Springs. You’re so pretty, but you’ve got to do something about those cannabis laws. The city’s decision not to allow recreational sales may be having unintended negative consequences.
Hoppz’ Cropz was a head shop in Colorado Springs with two locations, and they were making quite a tidy profit illegally “gifting” shoppers with free cannabis when they purchased vastly overpriced paraphernalia. For instance, you might buy a $15 lighter and receive a “free” gram of cannabis as a gift.
The four owners of Hoppz’ Crops and nine of their employees were apparently buying medical cannabis from licensed facilities and “giving it away” to shoppers who purchased other merchandise in their stores. In all, 13 people were indicted for illegally distributing 200 pounds of cannabis and violating the state Organized Crime Control Act. The owners were also accused of tax evasion and failing to report nearly $500,000 in retail sales.
Given that Colorado Springs’ District Attorney Dan May has a bee in his bonnet about cannabis, it may be a while until Colorado’s second-largest city allows for legal recreational sales. He’s called cannabis “the gateway drug to homicide in our community and across our state.” Regardless of his attitude, two-thirds of the City Council members in the city (six of nine) support a ballot measure to eventually ask citizens whether to allow recreational sales within the city.
The moral of this story is that when people want to buy cannabis, they will. Whether it means purchasing legally (and thus paying taxes), buying in some pseudo-legal situation like the one in Colorado Springs, or just buying it from the guy on the corner, they’ll find a way.
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